How to Winterize a Water Heater
Learn how to prepare a home for the cold by winterizing the water heater and pressurizing the system.
When tapping into the water heater, turn the water heater off at the breaker. If the water heater is gas, turn it to the "pilot" position.
Purge the plumbing system by opening the hot water side of the lowest faucet in the home.
Cut into the water heater's cold water line with a pipe cutter, allowing the water in the pipe to drain into a bucket. Make another cut, and then remove the section of pipe.
Wearing latex gloves, clean and de-burr each end of the cut pipe. Do the same for the coupling.
Repeat these steps for a 90-degree elbow and another section of pipe. Attach the elbow followed by the pipe.
To connect the two open ends, clean and prepare a copper T, and then insert it between the two ends.
Take another piece of copper pipe and remove any burrs.
Add flux to the end, and then place it into the end of the T.
The correct valve to use for a sillcock shut-off valve will have a small hole called a petcock, which is very important for winterization. Also, the valve will have an arrow pointing in the direction of the water flow.
Once the shut-off valve is in the correct position, solder all of the joints.
Note Keep a rag handy to wipe off excess solder.
Close the shut-off valve, and turn the water back on.
Turn off the faucet, and check for leaks.
Turn the water heater back on.
Clean and prepare several pieces of copper pipe and fittings.
Insert one piece into the open end of the shut-off valve. Run the other until it reaches the spot where the sillcocks will enter the home.
Carefully solder all of the joints.
Drill through the sill plate using a paddle bit. Start with a small hole from the inside of the wall to prevent running into other pipes or wires -- then drill a larger hole from the outside (Image 1).
Note: When drilling through masonry block, drill into the center and move the drill around to open up the hole. For brick, drill into the mortar (Image 2).
When installing a frost-proof sillcock, bore the hole at a slight angle to the ground. This will allow the sillcock to lean towards the ground, helping to drain the area.
Using an extended masonry bit, widen the pilot hole. Make sure the hole is as straight as possible.
Remove any debris, and then fill the exposed hole with silicone caulk.
Clip the plastic wedge behind the sillcock's flange, and then insert the sillcock into the hole.
Temporarily place a wood screw in the right mounting notch. Secure the left side, then the right with self-tapping masonry screws.
Open up the sillcock to prevent the heat from soldering to build up.
Clean a couple of smaller sections of copper pipe, as well as a 90-degree elbow. Apply flux, and then slip the pipe into the elbow.
Solder the connection, and then mount the unit to the sillcock.
Measure the distance between the sillcock and the water line with a piece of cut pipe.
Cut the excess using a pipe cutter.
Clean and prepare the connecting pipe, 90-degree elbows and any exposed pipes.
Slide the elbows on either end, and then connect the sillcock to the water line (Image 1).
Solder all of the joints (Image 2).
Open the shut-off valve, and then allow the outside sillcock enough time to flush out debris before turning it off.